Lowell Handler is a former Black Star contract photographer-journalist whose pictures have appeared in Life, Newsweek, Elle, U.S. News & World Report, The (London) Sunday Times Magazine, Hippocrates, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report and Teaching Tolerance, as well as many international journals from Brazil to Japan.
Handler’s appearances on Dateline NBC, The Phil Donahue Show, and national television programs in Canada and the Netherlands have helped increase awareness and understanding of Tourette syndrome. He has proved an affable spokesperson for a disorder characterized by behavior that appears off-putting. As the star, narrator, guide, and associate producer of the Emmy-nominated PBS television documentary Twitch & Shout, Handler reached a mainstream audience and set the stage for his 1998 memoir, Twitch & Shout: A Touretter’s Tale, published by Penguin.
Lowell traveled extensively with famed neurologist, Dr. Oliver Sacks in the United States and overseas in the late ’80s, assisting Sacks in documenting research on Tourette syndrome through photography, and becoming a not-always agreeable sounding board and traveling companion. Their ultimate friendship is chronicled in the book, along with the revolutionary effects of Prozac, and the rewards and complications of coming to terms with a mysterious and ostracizing condition. Handler also tells of his testimony for the Food and Drug Administration on “orphan” drugs, helping to open up treatment options.
Twitch & Shout: A Touretter’s Tale was profiled in The New York Times Book Review, and called by Entertainment Weekly “A mind-bending account of a mind-boggling affliction.” The author’s other written work has been published in The New York Observer, Health, and the American Psychological Association’s Contemporary Psychology. Lowell was the technical consultant and set photographer on the film Niagara, Niagara starring Robin Tunney and Henry Thomas, the still photographer and advisor on The Tic Code, starring Gregory Hines, and the partial inspiration for Rob Morrow’s directorial debut Maze and Jonathan Lethem’s touretting detective in Lethem’s novel Motherless Brooklyn.
Lowell Handler lives with his wife, writer Jane Smith, in upstate New York, and is on the faculty at Dutchess Community College.